New Quarterly Incremental Release for OrCAD / Allegro 17.2

The latest Quarterly Incremental Release brings numerous innovations. The following products contain new features in 17.2 Quarterly Incremental Release (QIR) 4. All customers with a current maintenance agreement can download this update for free.

In a QIR (Quarterly Incremental Release), customer under maintenance will be provided several new features in this "interim release". The current QIR (from Hotfix 17.2.025) offers new features that enhance productivity again.

All customers under maintenance can download the update for free. Full documentation is available in the Download of this update.

The new features are:

In-Design DFx

For PCB designs, design for manufacturing flow has traditionally consisted of creating fabrication data at the end of the design, which is then sent to the fabricator. Hours, or days later, the fabricator sends back a list of issues to be addressed. The issues are corrected, and the cycle of data creation is repeated, resulting in lost days in the design to fabrication phase.

Realizing this time delay between the design center and fabrication, design centers create an internal sign-off group to shorten the manufacturing cycle by bringing fabrication validation tools into their own environment . This process reduces the data to manufacturing cycle time, but not necessarily the number of cycles between the tools. Fabrication data still needs to be generated and imported into the validation tool, and a list of issues is returned to the designer for correction. This current model is, more aptly, named verify for manufacturing.

Each iteration of this process costs time in the release to manufacturing phase, and also impacts the schedule of the next design that is interrupted to correct the issues on the previous design.

In-Design DFx in PCB Editor improves the process even further by putting fabrication checks into the constraint management system of PCB Editor. Manufacturing issues realized during the editing process can immediately be corrected rather than waiting for hours, or days, without generating manufacturing data and sorting through a list of violations from another tool. The sign-off phase still exists using tools, such as the Allegro®/OrCAD® Manufacturing Option, but with In-Design DFx, the iterations and the time required to produce fabrication data decreases multiple times.

In-Design DFF Checks in Analysis Modes
Figure 1: In-Design DFF Checks in Analysis Modes

Trace to outline violation

Figure 2: Trace to outline violation

Constraint Manager contains a new Manufacturing worksheet, which is divided into two categories, DFF CSet and Design. You define a CSet in the DFF CSet and assign to stackup layers in the Design category. Each Manufacturing Design for fabrication category consists of five major subcategories:

  • Outline: Checks the spacing of design objects to the Board Geometry/Design_outline and Board Geometry/Cutout subclasses
  • Mask: Defines the rules for minimum mask slivers width and square areas of mask islands for the areas where mask material may be too small for proper adherence to the substrate.
  • Annular Ring: Defines the size requirements for padstack definitions for hole to pad and pad to mask size relationships for pins and vias.
  • Copper Spacing: Defines the rules for the minimum manufacturing spacing allowed between trace, shape, pin pad, via pad, non-plated hole, and non-signal geometry objects.
  • Silkscreen: Defines the rules for the spacing between pin pads, via pads and non-plated holes to silkscreen geometry. You can also specify minimum character width and minimum line width values in this rule set.
  • Etch: Define rules that are applied to the conductor and plane layers as defined in the Cross Section Editor.
  • Non-Etch: Define rules that are applied to non-conductor layers such as solder mask, coverlay, and silkscreen.
  • Stack-up: Define rules that are non-layer specific such as cutout to outline checks and aspect ratios.

DRC Browser

The layout editors now include an advanced tool that enhances the ability to locate, review, and address DRCs. The DRC Browser UI contains various navigation, sorting, and filtering capabilities making it easier to focus on resolving design issues by DRC violation types and areas. The DRC Browser provides feedback on the number of errors, including bar and pie charts that are dynamically updated as issues are corrected or introduced, while editing the design.

DRC Browser Features

Abbildung 3: DRC Browser Features

Abbildung 4: Filter options

Figure 4: Filter options

MCAD Collaboration Environment

The MCAD Collaboration environment streamlines the ECAD/MCAD flow for IDX, reducing the concern for managing the multiple changes and modifications that occur during the design cycle. This environment is based on a shared repository where both the layout editor and MCAD tools read and write IDX files.

Sigrity Technology Driven High-Speed Signal Analysis and Checking

Allegro Integrated Analysis and Checking is a new, unique environment blending the best of Allegro and Sigrity technologies that provides analysis and checking capability entirely within the PCB Editor framework. For rule checking, DRC and ERC capabilities continue to depend on Constraint Manager as the single cockpit.

This release introduces two new workflow analysis capabilities for impedance and coupling. The workflows provide guided access to Sigrity analysis with results returned as dockable tables and plots, or as new Vision overlays.

Sigrity Workflow in Allegro PCB Editor

Figure 5: Sigrity Workflow in Allegro PCB Editor

Differential Pair DRC Enhancements

There have been changes to the way differential pair members are checked by the Allegro constraint system. At times standard design rules do not apply to the members of a differential pair which requires them to be checked differently from non-differential pairs. Enhancements have been made to the way Static Phase is calculated. It now includes via transitions when checking back to Driven Pins and specific spacing constraints, to control the minimum spacing between the vias of the members of a differential pair.

Productivity Enhancements

The dynamic component alignment behavior with snapping guidelines is similar to Microsoft programs such as PowerPoint. Designers can perform the one-two combination of placing and aligning components real time increasing their productivity and efficiency. Available during the Move command, the guidelines can be configured for either component origins, place bound edges, or both. You can also select, color of choice for the lines indicating the available snap points. This setting is located in the Color dialog Display folder.

Dynamic Component Alignment

Figure 6: Dynamic Component Alignment

The following list of features have also been enhanced in different areas of the layout editors.

  • Dynamic Ratsnest Update
  • Place Replicate Module Locking
  • Place Replicate-Apply Enhancement
  • Multi-site Copy/Paste

Padstack Editor XML Import/Export

In release 17.2-2016 QIR 3, new functionality was introduced into the Padstack Editor to allow the import and export of padstack data using an XML format (.pxml). In QIR 4, it is now possible to process multiple padstack definitions from within a single file using the -x option.

3D Canvas Updates

This is the fourth phase of major 3D improvements planned for the new 3D Canvas with many additional features under development.

Abbildung 7: fourth phase of major 3D improvements

Figure 7: fourth phase of major 3D improvements

3D Canvas functionality delivered in different releases are:

  • Phase I (Hotfix 4)
    The first phase, introduced with release 17.2-2016 hotfix4, includes a graphics engine upgrade, collision detection, etch layer visibility controls, and cross-probing to the 2D canvas.
  • Phase II (Hotfix 9)
    The second phase, started with release 17.2-2016 hotfix9, introduces interaction between the 2D workspace and the 3D Canvas, support for some industry-related export file types, and full layer modelling that includes mask, silk, and dielectric layers.
  • Phase III (Hotfix 16)
    In the third phase, started with release 17.2-2016 hotfix16, existing features are improved and new features are included, such as preferences dialog, representation of the actual thicknesses of zones, ability to move components in the 3D space while interacting between the 3D Canvas and the 2D workspace, support for exporting 2D PDF along with export dialog, and addition of visibility layer controls for planes, masks, silk, and dielectric layers.

The main enhancements made to 3D Canvas in this release (Phase IV) are:

  • Rigid-Flex Transformation (Bending)
  • Color Themes
  • Measure Path
  • Cutting Plane (Cross Section) Views

Schnittdarstellung im PCB Editor

Figure 8: Cutting Plane (Cross Section) Views in PCB Editor


Full documentation is available in the Download of this update.

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